South African Military 
History Society


Newsletter No. 531

Contact: Charles Whiteing
Telephone: 031 764 7270
Mobile: 082 555 4689


The Chairman, welcomed members & guests to the last meeting for 2021 and advised there would be a DDH talk only, followed by the traditional "cocktail party." Snack platters were supplied by the Society with liquid refreshments served from "The Vicar`s Alms," courtesy of our host, Father Dean.

Several announcements were made including congratulations extended to Graeme Fuller and his wife Audrey on their Golden Wedding Anniversary. A welcome was extended to past Kzn member Professor John Hart and his wife Jane, who after an absence of some years at Unisa, has returned to Kzn.

However, our thoughts are with fellow member and recent speaker Dave Ransome, who had recently suffered a cardiac condition but pleased to report he`s back home and on the mend.

The revised membership fees were announced insofar that effective January 2022, Single Membership is R280 pp, with Family Membership at R300. This adjustment represents a 5.7% and 5.3% increase, respectively.

As part of the annual SAMHS program, the viability of battlefield tours is to be considered by the committee, but as with all events; will be subject to the applicable Covid restrictions at the time. The Chairman then announced a break for refreshments, snacks, and the monthly raffle, which was appropriately won by Col./Dr. Graeme Fuller, who very kindly donated the prize of a bottle of wine for the January 2022 meeting draw.

The DDH guest speaker SAAF Col. (retd) Steve Bekker was introduced, who as guest speaker at prior year end meetings, has shared with us some of his past experiences during his career in the SAAF.

His talk was titled "Bits and Bobs." This included amongst others his experiences as a pilot to V.I. P`s and all that it entailed. He recalled his time as an escort to the then President Nelson Mandela who was prone to time deviate from the strict security protocols to meet and greet people.

Steve told us of an inter service incident when one of the SAAF members had been "roughed up" by some members of a neighbouring Parabat regiment.

It was acknowledged that a suitable response was required, which entailed an Aloutte helicopter flying low over the Parabat camp site, and as can be expected, caused a fair amount of chaos because of the down draught which assisted in "redistributing" the tented camp together with its contents. However, nothing further was mentioned of the incident, and entente` cordiale between the SAAF and the Parabat Regiment was established. Committee member Dr Graeme Fuller delivered the vote of thanks to Steve Bekker for his amusing and fascinating talk.

The Chairman thanked all attendees and advised them of the next meeting at the same venue, at 14h30 on 15 January 2022.

On behalf of the Committee, best Christmas wishes, and a happy New Year was extended to all members and visitors.

Charles Whiteing

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South African Military History Society /